Once a year, everyone is Irish! St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is celebrated each year on March 17th, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in AD 461.
His early years, from his birth in AD 385, were hardly the stuff of saints.
Until the age of 16 he considered himself a pagan.
Sold into slavery by marauders that raided his village, he found God during his six year captivity.
After twelve years of theological study, he realized that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.
Patrick's thirty year mission in Ireland consisted of his traveling throughout the country establishing monasteries, schools and churches.
He used the shamrock, the symbol of Ireland, to demonstrate the principle behind the Holy Trinity: one leaf for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit.
Why not decorate your table for the traditional St. Patrick's Day feast of green beer and corned beef and cabbage with a variety of potted clovers that are part of the tradition of the "wearin' o' the green"?
The white clover, or Trifolium repens, is considered to be the original shamrock, but the Irish also sport the lesser trefoil or hop clover (Trifolium dubium), the red clover (Trifolium pretense) and the black medick (Medicago lupulina).
In preparation for the holiday, you can grow the Americanized version of the lucky clover, the Oxalis.
Hardy only in zones 8 to 9, it is usually grown as a houseplant.
It loves bright light, and moist, well-drained soil, but as the plant begins to go dormant, keep the soil barely moist and resume regular watering in the spring when the plant puts out new growth.
The rare four-leaf clover is believed to hold Druidic power as the Druids used clovers in spells; for them the leaves represented the four elements of alchemy: water, earth, air and fire.
Even in more modern times, it is thought that the four-leaf clover grants the carrier the ability to see fairies and detect witches.
If you are lucky enough to find (or grow!) a four leaf clover, carry it with you! One leaf symbolizes FAITH, the second is for HOPE, the third is for LOVE, and the fourth is for LUCK.